If money were no object, I would build a mansion for myself and my family.  However what’s more important to me than where I would live, is how.  There are plenty of documented cases of people who win the lottery and have their lives ruined.  I would not want to retreat into a life of gluttony and sloth, but would instead want to live well in the truest sense.  When I was young my family visted the Hearst Castle in California.  The complex was not really a castle but more like a complex of living and recreational facilities.  It was built on a hill overlooking the ocean and after taking a tour I learned a little more about the owner’s life.  William Randolf Hearst retired to the caste after an extreme success as the owner of 30 different newspapers.  The estate had every kind of entertainment that someone could ask for including pools, tennis courts, fine art, a wine cellar, and even a zoo.  Guests were always staying at the estate, sometimes for several weeks and each night all of the guests would gather together for a dinner in the largest dining room. At the dinner guests would be assigned seats nearest to Hearst according to how recently they had arrived (and move away as they outstayed their welcome).  Inactive guests were considered the ultimate insult by the owner of the estate, who loved to see his guests wake early every morning to take full advantage of the possibilities before them.  This is the characteristic I would like to emulate in my fantasy.  I would like to constantly be bringing friends and family to visit my estate and most importantly foster an environment where people take true advantage of the activities available to them.

To build this estate of mine I would go to New Zealand.  I would buy a small island near New Zealand.  I have lived in Maine for the majority of my life and though I did not know it at the time I have developed a serious love of the ocean which is part of the reason I would relocate to the sea.  The most important thing to me is that the ocean be warm wherever the island is, as living in Maine for 10 years has given me a lifetime’s worth of experience with frigid water.  Other than this requirement, I would like the island to be near New Zealand because I think it has one of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes on Earth.  I am not speaking from experience, as I have never been there, but from talking to friends and seeing pictures I am convinced of this.

What if questions like this one can be fun and interesting to hear answered, however they are (intentionally) unrealistic.  One what if question that I think has merit to it is the idea of eternal recurrence described by Nietzsche.  In his thought experiment, he imagines that he does not live his life once, but over and over for eternity.  He asks if and how one’s behavior would change given this knowledge.

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2 responses »

  1. Mike M says:

    It is interesting to see that your choice of place to go does not revolve so much around the place itself, but the people you share it with. By building this estate, you are essentially creating a place where all the people you care about can come and live with you. It is a very interesting idea to essentially create your own town to live in and fill it with people you like.

  2. […] Best overall post goes to Jim for If Money Were No Object […]

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